Being the start of a new year and all, one phrase which I heard a lot of last month was ‘start as you mean to go on’. If that is to be an allegory for films in 2012 then it will be a very satisfying year as the standard of films in January was fantastic. This month, we have our first of four helpings of super-heroism, the return of beloved characters guaranteed to cause nostalgia for some, and much more. Read on for previews on all of February’s big releases.
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Chronicle (Out Feb 1)
You may remember watching a TV show called Heroes back in 2006. For those who aren’t familiar with the phrase ‘save the cheerleader, save the world’, the show was about people all over the world discovering they have powers and how that discovery affects their lives. It’s no surprise then that the trailer for Chronicle triggers memories of that once great show, as it too features teenagers who have mysteriously come into powers with funny – and calamitous – results. It’s Heroes on a bigger scale, and with impressive looking visuals and a trailer full of intrigue, odds are good that Chronicle will start off February strongly.
Starring | Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Dane DeHaan, Ashley Hinshaw, Alex Russell and Anna Wood.
Director | Josh Trank Certificate | 12A Run Time | 1 hour 23 minutes
Carnage (Out Feb 3)
Legendary filmmaker Roman Polanski’s latest endeavour is Carnage, a comedic drama which sees two sets of parents having a pleasant meeting with each other after their kids get involved in a playground scuffle. At least, it starts out pleasant; it isn’t long before the parents are acting like school kids themselves, and carnage ensues. Tara from the Yin & Yang team has already seen this one, and you can check out her thoughts here.
Starring | Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly, Eliot Berger and Elvis Polanski.
Director | Roman Polanski Certificate | 15 Run Time | 1 hour 20 minutes
Man on a Ledge (Out Feb 3)
Sam Worthington has got a busy couple of months ahead of him. In March, he reprises his role as Perseus in Wrath of the Titans. Before that though he is the Man on a Ledge, aka Nick Cassidy – a former NYC cop turned con determined to prove his innocence. Unbeknownst to the police and the captivated crowd, the stunt is just a ploy to pull off a diamond heist with his brother (Jamie Bell). It’s an interesting twist on the typical heist movie, and with a strong supporting cast in Ed Harris and Elizabeth Banks, this could prove to be a fun watch.
Starring | Elizabeth Banks, Sam Worthington, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Kyra Sedgwick, and Edward Burns.
Director | Asger Leth Certificate | 12A Run Time | 1 hour 42 minutes
Young Adult (Out Feb 3)
Charlize Theron is back with a vengeance this year with three films coming out in 2012. Young Adult, her first film since 2009’s The Road, sees her star as Mavis – a novel writer who returns to her hometown after a divorce to rekindle a romance with high school boyfriend Buddy (Patrick Wilson). There’s just one problem; Buddy is now happily married with a kid. It’s not easy to make such an unlikable character compelling to watch, but Theron looks to have done just that. Her performance garnered a lot of Oscar buzz, and although ultimately Young Adult was snubbed by the Academy – as were many excellent films – I am looking forward to seeing her in action.
Starring | Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Patton Oswalt, Emily Meade, and Collette Wolfe.
Director | Jason Reitman Certificate | 15 Run Time | 1 hour 34 minutes
The Woman in Black (Out Feb 10)
The first film after the Harry Potter saga was always going to be tricky for Daniel Radcliffe. Interestingly, he’s gone with horror flick The Woman In Black, previously a book and still a London play. Radcliffe stars as Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer who travels to a remote village to organize the affairs of a recently deceased client. Instead, he encounters the ghost of a scorned woman set on revenge. As with all adaptations, the challenge for filmmakers is to stay loyal to the source material whilst making the film their own, and with a suitably creepy trailer, there’s a good chance that The Woman in Black will be a hit with fans of the book as well as new audiences.
Starring | Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds, Alisa Khazanova, Mary Stockley, and Lucy May Barker.
Director | James Watkins Certificate | 12A Run Time | 1 hour 35 minutes
A Dangerous Method (Out Feb 10)
It’s not hard to see why Michael Fassbender is an actor in demand right now with excellent performances in last year’s X-Men: First Class, and last month’s Shame and Haywire. He is joined by heavy hitters Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley for A Dangerous Method, a film about the early days of psychoanalysis. The film examines the relationship between Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and his prodigy Carl Jung (Fassbender), as Jung experiments on Russian patient Sabrina Spielrin (Knightley) using Freud’s controversial new methods. Knightley is particularly adept when acting out a different century – see Atonement, The Duchess and Pride & Prejudice for details – and with the addition of the also excellent Vincent Cassel, this promises to be an interesting watch.
Starring | Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon and André Hennicke.
Director | David Cronenberg Certificate | 15 Run Time | 1 hour 40 minutes
The Muppets (Out Feb 10)
The Muppets are back this month with their 9th feature film. This time, Kermit and the gang must reunite to stop despicable oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) from destroying the Muppet theater. This will no doubt prove nostalgic for those who grew up watching the legendary puppet characters, whilst the younger kids are also guaranteed to enjoy it. The trailer already showcases some trademark Muppet humour, and with a whole host of celebrity cameos (some of which are listed below), this looks to be a great film for all ages.
Starring | Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Danny Trejo, Jack Black, Selena Gomez, Zach Galifianakis, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Director | James Bobin Certificate | U Run Time | 1 hour 50 minutes
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Out Feb 17)
Let’s rewind the clock back to 2007; Ghost Rider had disappointed fans and critics alike, but had somehow still brought in $228 million worldwide. Now Nicolas Cage reprises his role as the cursed anti-hero, with a story that takes place eight years on from the previous effort. New directors Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine have decided that darker is better and the changes they’ve made are already evident, chief among them a far more charred Ghost Rider. With Idris Elba joining the cast and explosive action guaranteed, Spirit of Vengeance will hopefully be more deserving of the money it will undoubtedly rake in.
Starring | Nicolas Cage, Ciáran Hinds, Violante Placido, Johnny Whitworth, Christopher Lambert, and Idris Elba.
Directors | Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine Certificate | 12A Run Time | 1 hour 35 minutes
Safe House (Out Feb 24) *ONE TO WATCH*
It is difficult to remember a film where Denzel Washington wasn’t good. After a filmless 2011, he’s teamed up with Ryan Reynolds for Safe House. The plot sees Reynolds’ bored rookie cop Matt Weston tasked with keeping watch over fugitive Tobin Frost (Washington). When the safe house is attacked by mercenaries, Weston is forced to go on the run with Frost. Brendan Gleeson and Vera Farmiga make for a strong supporting cast, and if the trailer is anything to go by, Washington and Reynolds play off each other well. Add all this to solid looking action sequences, and it’s not hard to see why Safe House is my one to watch this month.
Starring | Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Robert Patrick, Liam Cunningham, Nora Arnezeder, and Rubén Blades.
Director | Daniel Espinosa Certificate | 15 Run Time | 1 hour 55 minutes
Rampart (Out Feb 24)
Set in LA in the late 1990′s, Woody Harrelson stars as Dave Brown, the last of the dirty cops. When Brown is caught on tape ‘doing the people’s dirty work’ by exerting his own brand of justice, he becomes embroiled in a vicious scandal that sends his life spiralling downward. Penned by James Ellroy, the writer of L.A. Confidential, you’d be hard pressed to find a darker film this month.
Starring | Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ben Foster, Brie Larson, Anne Heche, Ice Cube and Cynthia Nixon.
Director | Oren Moverman Certificate | 15 Run Time | 1 hour 48 minutes